Sunday, December 08, 2013

Japan's New Militarism

They passed the new state secrets law in Japan. Now, if you don't agree with the administration, you can be labeled a "terrorist." They are clamping down on what information gets released from Fukushima, when they should be thinking about the radioactivity that is released from the damned place.

There's a new wave of militarism starting to rise in Japan. The Ministry of Education has prevented certain details about Japan before and during World War II from ever being taught so generations have no idea at all about the Rape of Nanking and other atrocities.

Japan became more and more aggressive after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake. In its aftermath, Japanese anti-Korean and anti-Chinese prejudices exploded and mobs went on a killing spree of ethnic minorities. The military used this civil unrest as a pretext to erase political dissidents. Stunned by the disaster, many felt that Japan had to return to its past values and nationalism grew even stronger. Then, Tokyo won a bid to host the 1940 Summer Olympics.

Fast-forward about 90 years. The biggest quake in recorded history rocks northeastern Japan. The quake and subsequent tsunami destroy a huge portion of Japan. It also starts the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe. Pissed off citizens begin standing up to the Old Guard. No more nukes. No more dirty politicians. No more collusion between politics and business. The Old Guard freaks out. Sensible Kan is pushed out, ineffectual Noda reigns briefly setting the stage for rightwing Abe to take over. Tokyo wins a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The state secrets law gets passed. It's on the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The similarities between the two different eras are too creepy.

Big Dog doesn't share my fears, however. He thinks Japan's aggressiveness is only a response to saber-rattling by the Chinese and Koreans. He believes the Japanese are mostly sensible, peace-loving people.

I think there is too much "sheep" in the Japanese. They don't like to rock the boat, can't stay mad for long and eventually just want to get back to their uneventful lives. They value harmony above everything else which in normal situations is great but when there are injustices and wrongs that need to be righted, they are useless. Ultimately, people will give in, sighing "Shoganai." (It means "nothing can be done" and is a convenient out for those who don't have the guts to do anything anyway.)

I don't think the Japanese living in Japan see it quite the way I do. They are too immersed in the gradual changes -- like that proverbial frog in a pot who doesn't realize the water is getting hotter and hotter until it's too late. I have a different vantage point, though, and the combination of a multitude of "signs" is making me very anxious.

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